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Cancer Insurance

Cancer Insurance is a special type of a policy designed to offer financial assistance to those diagnosed with the disease after the free look up period mentioned in the purchased cancer insurance policy’s terms and conditions. A cancer-specific policy offers cover for various costs associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment, including hospitalization, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, etc. The money is usually payable at various stages of diagnosis including minor, major and critical stages. However, cancer insurance policies generally do not offer death, maturity or surrender benefits.In fact, it is also not limited to the actual expense in hospitalization for treatment.

To qualify for cancer insurance, the insured cannot be suffering from pre-existing cancer conditions. Also, those previously diagnosed and treated for cancer are ineligible for cancer insurance.

Best Cancer Insurance Plans in India

Eligibility Criteria Entry Age (Minimum-Maximum) Sum Assured (Minimum-Maximum) Policy Term (Minimum-Maximum) Survival Period Premium Payment frequency

HDFC Life Cancer Insurance

18 – 65 Years

10-40 Lakhs

10-20 years

7 days

Annual, Half-yearly, Quarterly or Monthly

Aegon Life iCancer Insurance

18 – 65 Years

10-50 Lakhs

5-70 years minus entry age


Annual or Monthly

Future Generali Cancer Protect

Major Lives - 18 – 65 & Minor Lives – 1-17 Years

Major lives – 10-40 Lakhs & Minor Lives – 10 Lakhs

Major lives – 10-80 years minus age at entry. Minor Lives - 18 minus entry age or 10 years, whichever is higher (Regular Premium); 5 Years (Single Premium)


Annual and Monthly (Regular Premium); One Time Lump Sum (Single Premium)

ICICI Prudential Cancer Insurance

20-60 Years

5- 25 Lakhs

10-70 years


Annual, Half-yearly, or Monthly

PNB Metlife Cancer Insurance

18 – 65 Years

5- 40 Lakhs

10-20 Years


Annual, Half-yearly, or Monthly

Types of Cancer Covered by Cancer Insurance Plans (at early and advanced stages):
  • Lung cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Hypolarynx cancer
  • Prostate cancer
Benefits of Cancer Insurance Plans:
  • Covers multiple stages of cancer
  • Lumpsum is paid out on cancer diagnosis
  • Premium waiver is available under certain conditions like early stage cancer diagnosis
  • If there are no claims during the year, the sum assured increases by a pre-specified percentage
  • Monthly income is paid out for a specified number of years subject to certain conditions, such as in case of major cancer diagnosis
  • Premium discounts are available for policies over a certain amount
  • Insurance cover is not ceased after first diagnosis
  • Tax benefits under section 80D of the Income Tax Act
How Does Cancer Insurance Differ From a Critical Illness Plan

A critical illness (CI) cover pays for expensive treatments for a range of specific critical diseases like stroke, major organ transplant, paralysis, cardiac arrest, multiple sclerosis, kidney failure, total blindness, deafness etc. Some life-threatening cancers are also included. A regular CI plan pays a lump sum benefit after the policyholder is diagnosed with a covered critical illness, and this amount can be used for deductibles, treatments, co-pays, therapy, or any other related expenses. CI insurance is cheaper than comprehensive medical insurance plans, because it covers specified critical illnesses only. Critical illness covers can be purchased as individual policies or as riders with an existing life or health insurance policy.

However, a major drawback is that such plans cover cancer only at an advanced stage. For instance, a critical illness plan will pay for cancer if a malignant tumour exhibits uncontrolled growth, with invasion and destruction of normal tissues at an advanced stage. Also, a CI plan does not waive off future premiums and also the feature is of increased sum insured is not there.The cover ceases on detection of any one covered illnesses.

Downsides of a CI plan that make standalone Cancer policies a better safeguard against cancer:
  • Does not cover complications arising from cancer
  • If the policyholder shows cancer symptoms within the first 90 days (usually the stipulated waiting period in most policies), the plan ceases to exist
  • No critical illness plan covers early stage cancer. Those diagnosed with cancer after the waiting period is over cannot make claims until the cancer reaches an advanced stage

Why You Need a Cancer Insurance Plan

Cancer insurance is important because of the domino effect this disease can have on families physically, emotionally, and financially. Also, even the best health insurance policy may not cover all cancer-related costs and if it does, there are conditions for coverage at different stages.

Cancer insurance is worth considering if:

  • You have a family history of cancer
  • If you believe that due to environmental or other reasons you have a higher risk of developing cancer
  • You do not have adequate savings to pay large medical bills
  • Your regular health insurance policy does not have sufficient coverage
  • You are the only earning member
Exclusions in a Cancer Insurance Plan
  • Skin cancer
  • Any kind of cancer directly or indirectly caused by or contributed to by sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, or AIDS
  • Cancer resulting from any congenital condition, pre-existing condition; biological, nuclear, or chemical contamination; contact with radiation or radioactivity from any non-diagnostic or therapeutic source

Note: These are general exclusions. Specific exclusions may vary between insurers.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Cancer Insurance Plan

Weigh risk factor due to family health history: For those with a strong family history of cancer, purchasing cancer insurance makes a lot of sense. These individuals must revisit their current health insurance plan and analyse how a cancer insurance policy will compliment this current health policy. It is also important to remember that cancer insurance only kicks in if the policyholder is diagnosed with cancer, and will not offer coverage for any other chronic disease.

Two policies do not mean double coverage: Having a comprehensive health insurance policy plus a separate cancer insurance plan does not necessarily mean that one gets double the benefits. Most insurance policies come with a 'coordination of benefits' clause, stating that one plan will not cover expenses that the other plan does.

After careful analysis if you decide to go ahead and buy cancer insurance, check and compare as many plans as possible.

How Can a Person Make an Informed Decision Using Policywise

You can sign upon by entering a few details like name, date of birth, email address, and mobile number. On the website, you can compare and analyse various cancer insurance plans offered by some of the leading insurance companies in India. Detailed plan comparisons help you pick a product most suitable to your specific needs.

Should you require further guidance, you may call on the toll-free or landline number listed on the website. Phone support is available for NRIs too.